Cancer

Cervical cancer

Description

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancer found in women’s reproductive system, which occurs when an abnormal growth of cells begin in the cervix, a narrow opening into the uterus from the vagina. Cervical cancer can be successfully treated when found at an early stage.

Types of cervical cancer

  1. Adenocarcinoma
  2. Sarcoma

Causes and symptoms

There could be many risk factors that are responsible for causing cervical cancers, which are Human Papillomavirus (HPV) virus through unsafe sexual contact, genital warts, being older than 50, smoking, taking birth control pills or engaging in early sexual contact.

It is not necessary that above mentioned factors will definitely cause cervical cancer, however, women with these conditions have high risk and show symptoms such as:

  • Irregular or abnormal vaginal bleeding and discharge
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Pelvic pain that is not related to the menstrual cycle
  • Frequent urination
  • Trouble urinating
  • Thick discharge with strange smell

Diagnosis

Symptoms can help give the doctor a brief idea on the exact cause of the problem, however, performing actual medical examinations can confirm the details. A pap test can easily assist the doctor in finding alterations in the cervical cells and aid in analyzing them through the treatment process. Pelvic exam, biopsy, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, chest x-rays and PET scan are some other methods that can diagnose cervical cancer.

Treatment

Based on the diagnostic tests and medical condition of the patient, the treatment method is chosen by the doctor. It also depends on how much the cancer has advanced.  Below are given the major treatment options for curing cervical cancer.

  • Surgery: Surgery involves removal of cancerous cells and nearby tissues along with organs such as pelvic lymph nodes, ovaries, Fallopian tubes to make sure the cancer is completely eliminated. Hysterectomy is one of the main types of surgical procedure.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is the process of using invisible high energy x-rays that targets the cervical area and damages the cancerous cells and stops their growth. It is used in all stages of cancer and offers an effective treatment that lasts longer. External radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy are two types of this process.
  • Chemotherapy: chemotherapy refers to the treatment procedure where use of proper medications helps kill the cancer cells. These medications are specifically designed to target the type of cancer by entering in the blood vessels and reaching the cancer cells throughout the body. This treatment is very effective in all stages of the cervical cancer and can be used with radiation therapy as well.

Complications

Complications are pretty common in cervical cancer treatment. You should discuss them with your doctor prior to the treatment. The doctor will advise you how you can counter those side effects. Below are few of the cervical cancer treatment side effects that you may experience post treatment:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Infertility
  • Skin changes
  • Skin rashes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vaginal and bladder irritation
  • Menstrual changes
  • Pain during urination
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores

Postoperative care

You can leave the hospital 2-3 days after the treatment and return to your daily activities within a few weeks.

You will have to avoid sexual intercourse until you are fully comfortable that could take a few weeks.

Care is extremely necessary during and after the treatment for better recovery, so eat a nutritious diet and quit smoking and alcohol.

Get support in the form of clinical trials and rehabilitation therapy to recover from any mental stress and depression.